an interview with Libby Copeland

The Era of Family Secrets Is Over

An interview with Libby Copeland suggests that this means the end of family secrets.

When and where did you first start writing or reading about DNA testing?I write about the intersection of science, culture, and human behavior, and I started reporting on home DNA testing after some conversations with my Washington Post editor, who was interested in how unexpected results play out for people. Members of my family had already started doing DNA testing to try to learn more about our family’s genetic ancestry and health issues, and my dad had given me a “spit kit” for the holidays, though I hadn’t actually sent my saliva in yet. So I was already curious about the implications of this technology. When, through interviews, I began learning about the many ways in which DNA testing can play out for people, I became intrigued by the idea that this technology—sometimes called “recreational genomics”—might amount to far more than an entertaining and informative pastime. Indeed, it might actually be changing how we relate to one another and how we regard ourselves.

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Recreational DNA Testing & Its Uninvited Consequences

The articles in this special section:

The Era of Family Secrets Is Over

an interview with Libby Copeland

An interview with Libby Copeland suggests that this means the end of family secrets.

A Change, Inked: Dani Shapiro Reckons With a DNA Discovery

“Last spring I found out that my father was not my biological father,” I told him, keeping the story as brief as possible.